Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Conference of the Immortals: Part the Second

The Nightmare in Bohemia Continues

"Enough!" bellowed Zeus, Watcher of the Sea Havens, wiping aside a fine dribble of ambrosia from the corner of his mouth. Pegasus, startled from his post-prandial nap, discreetly and judiciously stepped out of the great god’s line of vision. "Let us finish our Punishment of the Snarky One! Now where are we?"

Mount Olympus?" hedged Aphrodite, Averter of Unlawful Desires.

"No, no, no!" thundered Zeus. "What have we decided upon thus far?"

"Why didn't you just say that?" grumbled the Goddess of Love.

"So, Mačka in Slovak and her husband," Keen-Sighted Hermes began to summarize, "are stranded in Prague, with about 800 Czech crowns to their name -"

"Or thirty euros," Ploutos, God of Wealth explained to the gathered assembly of currency-challenged Olympians.

" - Yes, about thirty euros from which they'll have to buy at least one more international phone card and their hotel bill is still unpaid and they have no return ticket for the next day," reiterated Hermes. "
Because of the time difference, our pair of Deadbeats will have to wait about five hours before they can call the Snarky One's mother. Instead, they call The Nice Americans who are on their way to an airport in Spain - are we all on the same page here?"

"Is there a book you're following?" remonstrated Aphrodite. "I have no idea what you're all talking about. No one gave me a book."

"Aphro, please try to pay attention," chided Athena the Wise.

"This place sucks," pouted Genital-Loving Aphrodite.

"No, you suck," hissed Eos under her breath, still smarting from the curse Aphrodite had placed on her giving her an unquenchable and very inconvenient desire for young men.

"Suck," repeated Echo.

"Okay, so they call The Nice Americans," suggested Ares the Man-Slayer. "But then they learn that because The Nice Americans are on the road - we can put them somewhere in
France - it'll be several hours before they can wire money."

"Do they know that calling a cell phone rather than a land line will eat up their phone card credits?" asked Hades, Receiver of the Dead.

"They'll know soon enough!" chuckled Poseidon the Plant Nurturer.

"In the meantime," prompted Odysseus the Cunning, "because they feel guilty -"

"As they should," Beautiful-Ankled Demeter pointed out.

"Yes, as they should," continued Odysseus. "So let them spend part of the morning searching online for a Western Union office at the airport in Girona."

"What's Western Union?" asked Aphrodite, unsuccessfully stifling a yawn.

"An international money transfer service," replied Ploutos.

Girona?" asked Hestia of the Hearth. "I don't get out much."

"It's in the northeast of
Catalonia in Spain," explained Earth-Bearing Atlas, using his shoulders to shift the planet about so the Olympians could see where the city was exactly situated, "lying at the confluence of the Ter and Onyar rivers. Can you see it? With a recorded population in 2005 of 86,672 inhabitants, it ..."

"Yeah, yeah," interrupted Aphrodite, distractedly flipping through the pages of a Playgirl magazine. "Whatever."

"Needless to say, there won't be a
Western Union outlet at the airport -" proposed Artemis, Leader of the Dance.

"Sweet ...." murmured Odysseus, Raider of Cities.

"So they'll have to call The Nice Americans again and ask them to keep their eyes open for a shopping mall or something en route," continued her twin Apollo of the Mice, "which should be easy to do from a major highway -"

"NOT!" The gathered gods and goddesses doubled over in gales of laughter. Pegasus, startled from his post-prandial nap, opened an eye and gave the Olympians a filthy look.

"Exactly!" howled Apollo. "In any case, in spite of their generous offer to help and what with the flight they have to catch, the Snarky One and her husband really have no idea if The Nice Americans will be able to come through for them."

"Sweet..." murmured Odysseus, Of Many Devices.

"Sweet ..." repeated Echo.

"Since they now have a few hours to kill," the Dioskouroi, Patrons of Travellers reminded the group, "can they at least do some sightseeing?"

"They're not going to want to spend the few crowns they have on admission tickets to the castle or to any of the museums," mused Earth-Shaking Poseidon pensively. "Well, why not? Looking at a few bridges, gaping at a church or two, and gawking at the odd building doesn't cost anything!"

"The beer is cheap," offered Dionysus of the Wine Press. A few of the Olympians shook their heads in disgust. "What?!! I'm just saying ..."

"After a few hours of walking about the city," Hermes of the Golden Wand considered slowly, "and successfully killing time, they find a phone booth and call her mother."

"I think they should have to buy a new phone card," Hades, God of the Underworld pointed out. "Are you keeping track of their phone credits Ploutos?"

"Indeed, they have nothing," confirmed the God of Wealth. "They need to buy a new card."

Earth Mother Demeter politely raised her hand.

"Can we make the mother very understanding? I lost my only daughter to the Underworld for several months - you all remember what I went through when someone," she fixed her steely eye on Hades, "abducted her? It's only natural that a mother should worry.

"Yes, yes," Ploutos waved his hand impatiently. "The mother readily agrees to send money and yes, she expresses concern. Of course, it's still quite early and Western Union isn't even open yet in … where is she again?"

"Halifax - it's the largest city in the province of Nova Scotia in Canada," explained
Earth-Bearing Atlas, using his shoulders to shift the planet about so the Olympians could see exactly where the city was situated, "and originally occupied a small spit of land inside a palisade at the bottom of Citadel Hill ..."

"Yeah, yeah," interrupted Aphrodite, distractedly flipping through the pages of a Hustler magazine. "Whatever."

"So with time to kill," continued Hermes, "they can spend another hour or two looking at a few bridges, gaping at a church or two, and gawking at the odd building."

The Dioskouroi, Patrons of Travellers, nodded in approval.

"I bet their feet ache," commiserated lame Hephaestos.

"Good!" Golden-Winged Iris clapped her hands in glee. "She’s so snarky. I don’t like her one bit."

"In a couple of hours," checked Athena, Bridler of Horses, "they call her mother again, right?"

"Yes, but I think that we should send them back to their hotel to check their e-mail,” suggested Hermes. “They need a pick-up number to receive the money transfer. True, they can save their phone card credits that way but the constant traipsing about the city will serve to tire them out and waste precious time."

"Excellent idea!" exclaimed Wily Odysseus. "So, back to the hotel where an e-mail is waiting saying that money has been wired from Canada. There's a Western Union around the corner from where they’re staying but when they get there, find an English-speaking employee, and fill out the appropriate pick-up form -"

The gods and goddesses leaned forwards, craning their heads towards him as one.

"The person who works behind the desk will advise them", continued Much-Suffering Odysseus, savouring their anticipation, "that the currency selected by the Western Union outlet in Halifax was Slovak crowns rather than Czech crowns!"

“Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!” cried the gods, applauding raucously. Pegasus, startled from his post-prandial nap, opened an eye and gave the Olympians a filthy look.

"Unfortunately the young lady who works at that office is unaware that the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic parted company fifteen years ago, and when she heard the word 'Czech', she reasonably but erroneously registered Czechoslovakia. And, of course, the Prague office won't be able to issue the funds in Slovak crowns."

“Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!” cried the gods, applauding raucously.

"But they'll have to call her mother again," interjected Demeter. "It seems unfair to punish her mother by making her return to the Western Union branch again. I don’t think some people [stares fixedly at Hades] appreciate how much mothers suffer."

"Guilty by association!" cried Golden-Winged Iris. "Her daughter's so snarky. I don’t like her one bit."

"After calling her mother," continued Hera, Rich in Cows. "It should just be about time to call The Nice Americans."

"Okay, fine," responded ox-eyed Athena the Protectress. "But I don't think we should unnecessarily complicate this particular transaction. We're putting everybody through enough."

"Awwwwwwwwwww," groaned the fifty Nereids in unison.

"I agree," remonstrated Ox-Eyed Hera. "But because of their last experience at the Western Union near their hotel they'll be too embarrassed, so let's just send them to a different Western Union."

"Maybe to two because the woman at the first Western Union doesn't speak any English," suggested Artemis.

“They certainly are getting around,” observed Hephaestos of the Dragging Feet.

"Fine," nodded Queenly Hera. "But they receive enough money to at least pay their hotel bill."

"Time passes," said Hermes, picking up the thread, "to send them back to the hotel to check their e-mail again. I'm assuming they'll need a new pick-up number before they can return to Western Union for their mother’s money?"

"Absolutely and," demurred Wealthy Ploutos, nodding to Hera and Demeter, "this time there won't be a hitch. The Snarky One's mother's money will be there."

"I think they should call her mother to thank her," Hera said. "And call The Nice Americans to thank them as well."

"Then they'll have to buy another phone card," replied Hermes.

"Too bad," shot back Demeter, "It's the least they can do."

"But, can't we toss in another roadblock?" Odysseus proposed. "It's just that I'm having so much fun."

"Yes!" cried the fifty Nereids in unison.

"Yes!" screeched Golden-Winged Iris.
"She's so snarky. I don’t like her one bit."

"Yes," repeated Echo.

"They've already lost most of their Saturday!" argued Queenly Hera.

"Then on Sunday, could they get the departure time wrong for their train back to Bratislava?" prompted Apollo of the Python.

"Do you need to see where Bratislava is?" asked World-Bearing Atlas. "I can show you ..."

"And then it could depart half an hour late?" added his twin Artemis.

"Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!" cried the gods, applauding raucously.

"And maybe -" began Apollo of the Mildew.

"Enough!" roared the King of the Gods. "Enough. This will suffice. You have done well my children and the Snarky One's Punishment is just, but I think this must be the end."

He clapped his hands to disperse the gods, scattering scores of tiny thunderbolts and finally compelling Pegasus to search for quieter pastures in which to continue his post-prandial nap.

"The end," repeated Echo.


Cath said...

On the up side.. we received your postcard and you were apparently still having a good time when you sent it.

Mačka in Slovak said...

Ha! We had $$ then!